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Big Green Off to Best Conference Start Ever, Sweep Cornell

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Sophomore Ryan Smith     By Mark Washburn

Game One Box | Game Two Box

HANOVER, N.H. Dartmouth won both ends of a doubleheader against the visiting Cornell Big Red (4-16, 2-6 Ivy) on Sunday afternoon at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park, 13-8 and 14-11, to stretch its winning streak to nine games while improving to 10-9 overall and a perfect 8-0 in the Ivy League. This is the best start in conference play for the Big Green ever, besting the 1937 squad that began the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League (EIBL) by winning its first seven contests.

The first victory of the day was the 200th in conference play for Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen, and his record now stands at 201-173 in the EIBL and Ivy, which began sponsoring baseball in 1993. Also, sophomore reliever Ryan Smith (Greenlawn, N.Y.) saved both ends of the doubleheader, giving him seven on the season to equal the record he set last year and tie the career mark of 14.

Freshman Joe Sclafani (Palm City, Fla.) homered in each game this afternoon from opposite sides of the plate, his first two collegiate home runs. He finished the day 4-for-7 with a double, two homers, five runs and five RBIs out of the lead-off slot.

In the opener, Dartmouth jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead against Tony Bertucci (1-2). Sclafani walked, sophomore Jeff Onstott (Houston, Texas) singled him to second and junior Nick Santomauro (North Caldwell, N.J.) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI double. Cornell shortstop Scott Hardinger made a nice running catch on a pop fly into shallow left-center off the bat of senior Mike Pagliarulo (Winchester, Mass.), but Onstott was able to scamper home with the second run. Then with two down, junior Jim Wren (Granbury, Texas) lined an RBI single to center.

Freshman Joe Sclafani was a terror at the plate versus Cornell.

But the Big Red came right back with four of their own in the second. Adam Jacobs hit a double to left for the first run, and Brian Billigen followed with a bloop two-run double just inside the left-field line. Hardinger topped a slow roller to third and beat it out, but the throw also got away allowing Billigen to score for a 4-3 Cornell lead.

Jadd Schmeltzer made it 5-3 in the third with a lead-off homer, and Cornell tacked on two more in the fourth. Hardinger singled home Billingen who had tripled, stole second, went to third on a fly to right and scored on a Mickey Brodsky sacrifice fly.

The Dartmouth offense roared in its half of the fourth, taking a 9-7 lead it would not relinquish. Onstott ripped a two-run homer to right-center, his third of the year, and Wren belted a three-run shot with two out, his fourth of the year, ending Bertucci’s day. Reliever Taylor Wood could not get the third out, walking a batter then hitting the next before senior Johnathon Santopadre (Vacaville, Calif.) hit a ball back through the box for an RBI single. After another walk, Stephen Osterer came on to pitch and got the final out to keep the Big Red deficit at two.

Santomauro doubled again in the fifth and came around on a single by senior Ray Allen (Longwood, Fla.), but Cornell got that run back in the sixth on a Hardinger double, a Nathan Ford single and another Brodsky sacrifice fly. With the lead down to two, Smith came on in relief of freshman Kyle Hendricks (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and got the final out. After Dartmouth tacked on three insurance runs in its half of the sixth, two on Sclafani’s homer, Smith retired the side in order to pick up the save.

Wren drove in four runs for the Big Green while Sclafani was a perfect 3-for-3 with two walks, three runs and two RBIs. Santomauro also had three of Dartmouth’s 14 hits.

Hendricks (2-2) battled through the game, throwing 109 pitches in his 5.2 innings. Although he gave up 11 hits, he only walked one and struck out three. Of the eight runs he allowed, only six were earned.

Hardinger had a perfect game at the plate for Cornell as well, going 4-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI.

Allen and Wren each drove in two runs for the Big Green, while Sclafani, Santomauro and Pagliarulo had two hits apiece to lead the 12-hit attack.

Van Horn and Murphy each had three hits, while Murphy drove in three of Princeton’s five runs.

Game two was an even bigger slugfest, although it seemed as if Dartmouth would cruise to the victory after scoring a season-high nine runs in the second inning on eight hits. Junior Brett Gardner (Bellevue, Wash.), who had walked in each of his four trips to the plate in game one, stroked a two-run double with the bases loaded, and senior Jack Monahan (Overland Park, Kan.) followed with another double to plate one more. Santopadre laced an RBI single to center before Sclafani smashed a three-run blast. That was all for Big Red hurler Mickey Brodsky, who allowed seven runs in his one-plus inning. Pagliarulo and Allen each hit RBI singles to complete the scoring in the frame.

Cornell got two runs back in the third on a two-run homer off the bat of Jacobs, his first of the year. In the fifth, the Big Red got an unearned run on Brodsky’s third sacrifice fly of the day, making it a 9-3 game.

In the first five innings, all of Dartmouth’s hits came in the nine-run second. But Monahan ended that in the sixth with a one-out double. Back-to-back walks to Santopadre and Sclafani set the table for Onstott, who delivered a two-run single. After reliever Patrick Lewicki struck out the first batter he faced, Pagliarulo grounded an RBI single through the left side. Onstott then stole third and trotted home when the throw skipped past the third baseman for a 13-3 Big Green lead.

Freshman Cole Sulser (Santa Ysabel, Calif.) pitched very well for seven innings, yielding seven hits and three runs, two earned with just one walk and eight strikeouts, the most by a Dartmouth pitcher this year. He threw 112 pitches in his outing and struck out the side in the first.

That 10-run lead starting evaporating as Cornell pounced on the bullpen. In the eight, a single sandwiched around two walks loaded the bases with nobody out. Jerry Vitiello plated a run with a fly to right, and another run scored when the second baseman fumbled a slow roller off the bat of pinch hitter Brandon Lee. Billigen singled to load the bases again, and another pinch hitter, Marshall Yanzick, also singled to make it 13-6.

Nathan Ford then ripped a two-run double, and Brodsky stroked an RBI single as the Big Red got within four. Freshman Max Langford (Fairfax, Va.) was summoned from the bullpen, and he got a pop to second for the second out, but then walked the next batter to bring the tying run to the plate. Smith got the call one more time from Coach Whalen, and he quieted the uprising by getting Casey Brett looking at strike three.

Dartmouth got an insurance run in its half when junior Ezra Josephson (Key West, Fla.)singled, went to second on a sacrifice by freshman David Turnbull (St. Louis, Mo.) and scored on a two-out single by Allen.

Cornell loaded the bases in the ninth with one out on a pair of singles and a hit batter, then Ford beat the throw on a potential game-ending double play to make it 14-10. Brodsky singled home another run, but Smith made a nice play on a high hopper and got a force at second to end the game, finally sealing Sulser’s second victory against one loss this year.

Pagliarulo and Allen each had three hits and two RBIs in the game, while Sclafani drove in three with his homer.

For Cornell, Ford and Brodsky both had two hits and three RBIs, while Billigen led the 15-hit Big Red attack with three safeties.

Dartmouth continues its 11-game homestand on Wednesday against Saint Anselm College at 3:30 p.m. Cornell returns to Ithaca to play Binghamton on Wednesday at 3 p.m.